Hole 8 - ELED 411 "Instructional Analysis in the Elementary School"
Keith J. Conners, Ph.D.
Description: ELED 411 is a seminar approach to instructional analysis and reflection designed to be taken concurrently with the student teaching experience. The course attempts to integrate theory and practice, to support student teachers, to facilitate the process of learning to reflect upon one's teaching, and to provide a transition from the role of education student to that of professional educator.
Objectives and learning experiences: Students will . . .
- Share observations and reactions to their student teaching experiences in small group discussions and in reflective writing. Much of this work will take the form of informal journal-style writing, submitted on Thursday evenings at the start of seminar. Students may choose to react to one or more of the following prompts in preparing these submissions:
o This week I learned one very important lesson . . . .
o I have finally seen how some of the theory I learned in another course can be put into practice . . . .
o Until I actually had to teach, I never realized how important it is to . . . .
o There's a policy at my school which doesn't seem to make much sense . . . .
o Some of the things I have begun to appreciate about my cooperating teacher are very subtle, and would probably not even be noticed by another visitor to our classroom . . . .
o I found something on the internet that I'd really like to try. . . .
o As I was reading an article, I got to thinking . . . .
o The most important person in my school isn't the principal, it's . . . .
o I'm getting really frustrated with something, and I'd like to get some ideas about it . . . .
o I'm learning a lot about students, a lot about schools, and even more about myself . . . .
The instructor will review folders weekly and provide written feedback to students based on items submitted and issues discussed in class.
- Read, reflect upon and write about issues which face students, teachers and schools. James Comer's Waiting for a Miracle and the Thoughtful Teachers, Thoughtful Schools text will be used as stimuli for reflection and discussion, as will guests, handouts and presentations. Extended reflective writing (500 words or more) on at least three different topics and a formal written reaction (3-4 pages) to Waiting for a Miracle are expected. Students who are unable to attend seminar meetings may negotiate to compensate for missed class time by preparing additional extended reflections.
Regular professional reading is a basic expectation for all teachers, and by now you probably have found a number of sources for staying abreast of recent developments in your field. Thoughtful Teachers represents a sort of "reader's digest" featuring articles on current issues that student teachers should have at least passing knowledge of during employment interviews.
By the end of the semester, students should have read about half of the brief articles in Thoughtful Teachers. Some of these will provide the stimulus for writing your extended reflections, and others will serve as the basis for class discussion. Others may not directly affect your work in seminar but may provide useful background for employment interview questions.
- Participate actively in seminar presentations and activities. A number of topics relevant to the beginning teacher will be presented by the instructor, by other faculty, and by guests invited to join the seminar. Students will have input regarding the agenda of topics and guests.
- Take a turn in the leadership of seminar discussion on a topic or issue raised in the Thoughtful Teachers anthology. Seminar discussion leadership implies informal consideration of questions raised by reading and reflection. Inasmuch as students are expected to be reading and reflecting on important educational issues thoughout the semester, discussion leadership is seen as a natural outgrowth of participation in seminar.
- Develop, in conjunction with your student teaching, a classroom management plan.
- Develop a professional portfolio which captures the uniqueness of your talents as a prospective teacher.
Expectations: As the culminating experience in the teacher preparation program, the seminar presupposes certain expectations of professional behavior, including:
o regular attendance and punctuality at seminar meetings
o spirited but civil participation in discussion and debate
o scholarship appropriate for a 400-level professional education course
o appropriate dress and personal demeanor
o a commitment to professional reading and reflection, over and above the demands of daily preparation for student teaching
Evaluation: While the grading of the seminar is pass/fail, successful completion of the course is contingent upon satisfactory fulfillment of all seminar objectives and expectations. In addition to the pass/fail grade, the instructor will provide written feedback in the student's class portfolio based on reactions to work submitted for review and participation in class.
Texts: Comer, James. Waiting for a Miracle (1997)
Editorial Projects in Education. Thoughtful Teachers, Thoughtful Schools (1997)
Play through - Hole 9: EDUC 401-02 "Directed Teaching in Elementary School"
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